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Photo of sedated grizzly bear being fitted with a GPS collar while two cubs watch in the background.

From Picnic Pandemonium to Peaceful Streams: Grizzly Family Gets a Fresh Start!

Jasper’s most talked-about grizzly family, known for their impromptu picnic visits, have been relocated

We recently reported on a Bear-y Scary Picnic Story in Jasper National Park, where tourists were scared away from their picnic table when a mom grizzly and her two cubs made a surprise visit.

Mother grizzly and two cubs investigate a picnic table with food left out in Jasper National Park
Mother grizzly bear and cubs feeding at picnic table at Lake Annette Day Use Area in Jasper National Park, July 24, 2023. Mike Gere |

No one was hurt, but the bears’ bold behaviour concerned park officials. These bears were regulars to the Jasper townsite and were becoming more and more habituated to humans.

Parks Canada stated, “Once a bear becomes food-conditioned and loses its caution towards humans, it is a risk to human safety,”

Parks officials closed the picnic area and set a trap to capture the bears. Three days later, they captured the family, and on July 28th, they fitted the mom with a GPS collar and relocated the family 70 kilometres south of Jasper near the Columbia Icefields.

Parks have been monitoring the bears, and the three have been doing well in their new home, foraging for berries and fishing in a mountain stream.

If you were wondering how you live-trap a mom and three cubs… first, you need a special ‘family’ bear trap with a ‘cub-stopper’ mechanism on the trap door to prevent crushing the wee ones. 

Photo of a resource conservation officer using a walkie-talkie and watching a mom grizzly and her two cubs in Jasper National Park.
Resource Conservation Officer monitoring the “picnic bears” prior to capture and relocation. Alexandra Thurm | Parks Canada

And the trap also needs a special ‘cub compartment’ that allows the cubs a safe place to be away from Mom when she wakes up from her drugged daze. 

And speaking of drugs, once the mom was captured in the trap, an immobilization dart with a sedative was used.

And, of course, you need some good bait to lure the bears to the trap. Parks Canada did not use hot dogs and potato chips, going with meaty medallions from freshly road-killed elk.

Because these bears have been habituated to humans, Parks Canada wants to reduce further contact and stated on their Facebook Page;

“The bear family has been sighted along the Icefields Parkway (93N) near the Jasper and Banff national park boundary. Please stay in your vehicle and DO NOT STOP to view the collared grizzly and cubs to prevent further habituation.”

The picnic bear saga has ended with the bears settled into a new home that “fits just right” – Goldilocks would be proud!

Photo of a mom grizzly and two cubs exploring an alpine meadow with large mountains in the background in Jasper National Park.
The “picnic bears” explore their new home along the Columbia Icefields. Natalie Verrier | Parks Canada

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